Have you created any New Year resolutions? A popular resolution during this time of year is to start eating healthier, which can be a difficult task as a broke college student. When I lived in the dorms I found myself getting in the habit of eating Ramen Noodles or Easy Mac just because it was easy. Little did I know there are pretty simple ways to use your Meal Plan, My Meals, Purple Points, and Dining Dollars to eat healthy on campus!
- Salad Bars
- This one is pretty self-explanatory, but an easy way to eat healthier in the dining halls is to use the salad bars offered at both Esker, Drumlin Hall, and Prairie Street Market (Green Leaf). You can also use a My Meal, Dining Dollars, or Purple Points to get a salad from Chopped at Ike Schaffer. One of the nice things about these options are that they offer different toppings and greens to choose from. It is very easy to customize your salad for lunch or dinner!
- Dietary Options
- In the past year, we have seen a lot of people who have changed their normal diets to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free needs. If you look at the menu at campus-dining.com you can find the daily menus for each location on campus. These also outline what meals follow these guidelines or restrictions, so it takes the guessing out of the equation. This of course is very important for those who follow such restrictions for health reasons also. Additionally, Dining also provides the calories per serving on these online menus. Students can better plan out their meals and also find common allergy information!
- Variety of Options
- One of the best things about the dining halls is that there are quite a few options. If you’ve ever heard of the food pyramid, also seen to the right, you know that you’re supposed to have a spread of different food groups every day/week. In both dining halls there are different stations which help you get a healthy balance in your diet. For example, the Foundations station in the dining halls normally offers a meat option alongside a vegetable option. In Drumlin, you can also use The Mongolian Grill to expand your typical meal. Not to say it isn’t tempting to go for pizza in the dining halls, but by incorporating other foods you will find eating healthier a lot easier.
- Dorm Food
- When I lived in the dorms I know I didn’t always want to go to the dining halls to eat, especially in the snow! Instead, I would just find some food in my room to eat and call it good enough. While there is no problem with doing this, it is important to try to keep some fresh food in your fridge and not just rely on snacking foods. At some stores you can find pre-sliced fruits which even takes away the preparation! The C-Store and Willie’s both have some of these available for students throughout the day. By keeping some healthier options in your dorm you can at least feel a little less guilty by snacking.
- Find something you enjoy!
- Last, but not least, when trying to eat healthy one of the best things to do is find new options you truly like. Not everyone loves broccoli, and it’s okay if you’re not a huge fan, but don’t try to force yourself to eat it just to be “healthier”. If you have to force yourself to diet or change your eating habits, you will probably not stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try new things and explore what’s out there! Eating healthy really can taste good, I promise!
These are only some of the tips I have found in my three years of college, but I feel they are a start! The New Year resolution’s may be notorious for not lasting, but hopefully this will help if you’re trying to figure out how to eat healthy on campus and in the dorms!